Two things happened in Boston on Marathon Monday. One was a violent crime and an act of terror. The other? Its opposite. A superhuman effort to help those injured—for many, it was an automatic impulse to rush into the chaos—and a partly improvised, near miraculous fight to save lives and limbs. Sean Flynn recounts the harrowing, heroic minutes when those two worlds collided:
It’s April 15. Five days earlier, a report from the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, which is funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security, warned that the finish line could be bombed. That was the analytical equivalent of telling Evans the sky is blue. Boston police have always known that the middle blocks of Boylston Street could be a target, though it is assumed the most likely moment would be when the elites are loping in. There’s always a potential for someone to try to make a name for himself, Evans knows. And if you’re gonna disrupt a marathon, you’re gonna disrupt the lead runners. So when those lead runners approach, cops on motorcycles and bicycles and foot line Boylston from Massachusetts Avenue all the way to Dartmouth, backs to the course, watching. Make sure we really pay attention to the crowds, the cops are all told.
And the cops always do. The marathon has been run for 116 years without a major security incident, and there’s no reason to suggest the 117th will be any different.